Something special is growing on the farm...
|The hoe cut into the frozen earth, slowly carving a path across the field. Morgan paused from the tedious work to rub the kinks out of her back and take a drink from the water bottle hanging from her waist. The rows of cabbage stretched across the acres like a bumpy green patchwork quilt. The sight made Morgan grin with pleasure. If the freezing temperatures held out, she'd be able to get a good harvest for the season. Her eyes flickered to the sky, where the sun currently hid behind a gray fog. Morgan shuddered to think of how quickly the crops would wither and die should the sun come out, leaving the centaur village without sustenance for the year.|
Morgan gripped the hoe in her calloused hands and then paused, scanning the field. She frowned and stamped a hoof onto the firm ground.
"Where's Willy now?" she muttered, "I declare, that filly makes herself scarce every time there's work to be done!"
Shaking her long, red hair Morgan continued down the field, slicing cabbages from their chilly nesting ground and gently tossing them into the veggie cart she pulled behind her.
"Morgan!" a filly galloped across the field, heedless of where she placed her hooves. Morgan glared as the yearling skid to a stop, uprooting a few more precious cabbages in the process.
"You best have a good reason for destroying all them cabbages, Willy," Morgan snapped.
Willy grabbed at Morgan's arm. "You ain't gonna believe this, Morg, but I found something strange in the north field. You gotta come see!"
"You're always finding 'something strange' when you should be workin'," Morgan's blue eyes flashed as she yanked her arm away.
Willy's lips trembled and she side-stepped, bumping her flank against Morgan's. "This time it's different. I swear, Morg!"
Morgan sighed, "Honestly, Willy..."
"Please, Morg! Just...come see."
"Fine," Morgan grumbled, "But mind you don't stomp on the cabbages."
Trotting carefully around the veggies, Morgan followed Willy to the north field. A row of trees shaded this part of the land, casting a cool shadow that made the produce grow fuller and greener than any other part on their homestead.
"Right here," Willy whispered, pointing at two especially large heads of cabbage.
"I don't see anyth--"
Willy pushed the heads apart and Morgan sucked in a gasp.
"What...what is that?" she hissed.
Willy shrugged, "I thought it was a foal at first but...it doesn't look anything like us. I mean, where's its tail and hooves?"
"I've heard of these things in old stories. Thought they was just myths. Folklore," Morgan rubbed the back of her neck and nervously stomped. The vibration startled the creature. Throwing up its arms, it whimpered.
"So...it's an alien?" Willy asked, backing up a step as the creature's voice shifted into a high-pitched wail. Morgan bit her lip and slowly bent to scoop the crying critter up.
"You're not far off the mark. But I think...I think it's a human. They say Earth used to be overrun with them before the Death Bombs rained down on the land and created our ancestors," Morgan eyed the yearling filly and arched an eyebrow, "When you start school you'll learn all about how the climate also changed after those bombs fell..." Morgan stuck a grubby finger in the infant's mouth and grinned as it started sucking.
"Poor little fella is hungry," she murmured.
"But...how'd it get here?" Willy asked, edging closer to peek at the baby, "If humans died out..."
"Maybe they didn't," Morgan scanned the tree line, wondering what might be hidden in the depths of the woods, "Or maybe..." she trailed off, her mind flitting over the old stories.
"Maybe what?" Willy asked breathlessly.
Morgan pulled her finger from the baby's mouth, carefully lifted him to her shoulder, and patted his back. "Some of the old stories say humans had their babies delivered by stork."
Willy snorted, "That's ridiculous!"
"But another tale," Morgan said, shifting her eyes to the filly, "says that their young grew under cabbage leaves."
Willy planted her hands on her hips. "That sounds just as crazy."
"Crazy or not, it seems to have popped up here in our field."
"You think more will grow?" Willy wondered, bending to look under another cabbage leaf.
"I don't know. Our herd's been farming here for hundreds of years...this has never happened before."
Shadows were stretching across the field and the wind had picked up, lifting the loose dirt and twisting it into miniature dust devils. The baby shivered and Morgan flicked her tail at Willy.
"Let's take him to the house. The noon storms will be starting any moment and his fair skin won't be able to handle the rains," Morgan said.
The two cantered towards the farmhouse. Morgan held the baby firmly against her shoulder, less cautious now about treading on the produce in her haste to get the creature inside.
"So what are you gonna call him?" Willy asked, pushing open their front door.
Morgan ran a hand over the baby's fuzzy head. "There used to be a town where our farm now sits," Morgan murmured. She kicked the door shut with a hind leg and yanked down a quilted blanket hanging on a hook. She tucked it around the baby's naked body. "It was called Amarillo. I think we'll name him after that old town."
Morgan warmed up some goat's milk and carefully dribbled it past the baby's eager lips.
"We'll have to keep him a secret, Willy. At least until he's old enough and strong enough to be brought before the herd stallion," Morgan bit her bottom lip as the baby kicked his legs. "Do you think you can help me hide him and keep him safe?"
Willy grinned and clapped her hands, "Of course I can!" her eyes sparkled as she lifted the boy into her arms. His eyes fluttered as she gently rocked him to sleep, "I always wanted a brother, I just never expected such a strange looking one!"